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Hillsdale Assistance Team Supports Wells Students

[Posted March 11, 2022]

The Hillsdale Assistance Team (HAT) has made a $1,000 donation to support homeless students at Ida B. Wells High School.

Wells business manager Erica Caldwell says the funds will be used to buy gift cards for use by students whose families need help paying for housing, food, heating bills and other necessities.

According to Britni Locke, social worker at Wells, there are at least nine students at the school who are currently homeless. She added that it's difficult to assess the number of low-income students because that number is based on free and reduced lunch applications—this year, due to COVID, all students are receiving free lunch so applications are down. Locke estimates that the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunch is higher now than in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year for which data is available. Apart from financial impacts from the pandemic that might affect this number, enrollment at Wells has grown by about 100 students in that time.

Contact Erica Caldwell if you would like to learn how to make a donation directly to the school to support Wells students in need.

In addition to the donation, HAT has several other initiatives under way:

  • Staffing a “listening post” tent at the Hillsdale Farmers Market to share community thoughts about homelessness in the greater Hillsdale area.

  • Establishing an interfaith coalition that will meet this spring to address homelessness here.

  • Working with local schools to help homeless students or those living on the edge of becoming homeless.

  • Supporting efforts to set up viable Safe Rest Villages and to identify suitable sites for model sites here in Southwest.

  • Working with homeless encampments that are open to receiving assistance.

  • Continuing to learn about the nature and scope of homelessness here through outreach efforts and passing lessons learned on to the general public and to public officials.

  • Finding solutions which address the many facets of an emergency of which homelessness is but a part.

  • Holding general membership/business meetings via Zoom on the first Tuesday of the month. The next meeting is Tuesday, April 5, at 6:30pm. All meetings are no more than one hour. Those who want to become members should email

HAT welcomes monetary donations. Tax-deductible donations can be made online through the nonprofit Hillsdale Community Foundation. Donations made through the Foundation are tax-deductible; donors who don't need a tax receipt can send a check made out to HAT to HAT, c/o Rick Seifert, 2115 SW Tyrol St., Portland, Or 97239.

HAT has a balance of over $3574 in donations that have yet to be allocated.

For more information on HAT, drop by the table at the Hillsdale Farmers Market or visit

--Valeurie Friedman


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